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Dithering, Trickling Down, and Encoding: Concluding Thoughts on the ‘ILC Articles at 20’ Symposium

Twenty years ago, to this day, the ILC’s efforts at clarifying the rules of State responsibility came to an end. On 9 August 2001, the ILC finalised its work, begun just under four decades earlier, of spelling out  ‘the general conditions under international law for the State to be considered responsible for wrongful actions or omissions, and the legal consequences which flow there-from’ (at 31). This was no last-minute victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. What had begun in sub-committee meetings in early 1963, where Roberto Ago and encouraged the Commission to focus on the secondary rules of responsibility, ended not with a dramatic vote after multiple extensions of a conference — but in an orderly, perhaps even slightly anticlimactic process, faithfully recorded in the ILC Report for 2001 (at 25): ‘At its 2709th meeting, on 9 August 2001, the Commission decided … to recommend to the General Assembly that it take note of the draft articles on responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts in a resolution, and…

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State Responsibility and the Global Environmental Crisis

This post explores some aspects of the ILC’s Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (‘ARSIWA’) as they concern the global environmental crisis. The understanding of environmental degradation has changed over time from a bilateral/horizonal issue to a community one. Even within the latter frame, the enormity of the challenge is now much better understood.

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The Application of the Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts in the WTO Regime

In this short post, I consider the unique application of the International Law Commission’s Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (ARSIWA) to the special regime of the World Trade Organization, an organization that has had a variable relationship with international law over the years. Consistent with Article 55 of ARSIWA which privileges “special…

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The Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts and the making of international investment law

In modern international law, the relationship between state responsibility and the protection of foreigners and their property is one of cross-fertilization and even common origin. When in 1924 the League of Nations commenced its efforts to codify international law, state responsibility was included as one of the subjects for potential international regulation. It was referred to as the…

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Strengthening the rule of law in time of war: An IHL perspective on the present and future of the Articles on State Responsibility

International humanitarian law is one of the oldest areas of international law. As such, it was unsurprisingly a key source for the International Law Commission in its work on the Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (hereafter ‘Articles’). This is apparent, among other things, from the frequent references to IHL in Special Rapporteur Crawford’s…

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